During the Community Celebration and Open House, visitors squeezed into the library and even more former students, teachers and parents filled the parking lots, hallways and playground — talking about old times and bidding a bittersweet goodbye to their school.
“It kind of burdens my heart,” said third-grade teacher Bonnie Clark. “This is home. ... You feel it when you walk in the door, it’s more than a school.”
School bookkeeper Betty Poe, who has worked at Midway for 27 years, had charge of the memory book.
“That is for me,” she said, gesturing at the book filled with multicolored signatures and messages.
Ruby Brown talked about when the school burned in the early 1960s and classes were temporarily moved to the old Rome High.
“I worked here as a parapro for 13 years and my children and grandchildren went here,” she said. “Now there’s never going to be a Midway again.”
Andrew Morgan and his wife, Ginny Morgan, met at Midway when they were in first grade.
“This library seemed a lot bigger then,” said Morgan as he looked around.
Ginny Morgan’s sister Stephanie Jones had tears welling in her eyes as she thought back on her own memories.
“If you didn’t go here, you don’t get it really, but this place is special. … I do take comfort in knowing that my children got to be here,” she said. “It was like people I went to school with were taking care of my babies too, and I am glad they got to experience that.”
Cynthia Farmer, who works in the lunchroom, said three generations of her family attended Midway. She pointed out one teacher who had taught both her and her children, and others who taught her grandchildren.
“And Miss Betty is the heart of the school,” she added, gesturing toward Poe.
One piece of good news was shared by teacher Jill Mathis, who will be moving with her students to Pepperell Primary next year.
“The playground is coming with us,” she said. “We made sure of that. It is only 6 years old, it has to come.”
The playground was the Parent Teacher Organization’s labor of love — which included a lot of box top clipping to raise funds, former PTO president Betty Kirkman said.
Midway Primary is a pre‑K through second grade school that feeds into the Pepperell schools.
The 63-year-old school is closing at the end of the school year because of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Rockmart Highway and build the Southeast Rome Bypass.
Floyd County Schools officials decided the work would make it too dangerous to have traffic coming in and out of the school.